Manhattan Beach has received a lot of attention in recent years due to its award winning schools, pristine beaches and celebrity residents. It's also home to the Manhattan Beach Wine Auction, the largest charity wine auction in Southern California that raises over $1 million each year for its local public school system. The upscale beach town has been ranked the most educated city in Southern California and 5th in the state overall*. In 2011, CNN Money reported that it was the "#1 Best Place for the Rich and Single". The 35,000 residents of Manhattan Beach live in five spacious square miles, two of which are stretched along the picturesque Santa Monica Bay. The natural sand dunes formed provide the substrate for hills that gently rise from the waterfront to the highest point in the Hill section. Many homes have stunning views of Malibu, Santa Monica, Palos Verdes and Catalina. The 400-foot wide sand beaches are lined with walking and bike-riding pathways that stretch from the Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes. Manhattan Beach is home for people who desire to get away and enjoy the mild temperatures of the coast. Surfing, volleyball, swimming, paddle boarding, running, walking, tennis and yoga are regular activities for locals. In the summer months, friends and families congregate at the beach and neighbors gather outside for a glass of wine to watch the sunset. Known as the birthplace of sand volleyball, hundreds of courts line the beaches for both recreational and competitive games. (The city has hosted the Manhattan Beach Open, a professional volleyball tournament, since 1960.) The beaches at Manhattan Beach are among the cleanest in the world. Dolphins can be seen swimming up and down the bay almost every day, occasionally alongside the surfers and bodyboarders. Pelicans fly up and down the bay looking for schools of fish in the crystal waters. In recent years, orcas and gray whales have visited during their migration- stand-up paddlers have seen them up close and personal. Manhattan Beach is made up of four major sections, each distinctive and beautiful. The Sand Section stretches from the northern border to the southern border along the coast. Houses and town-homes fill this dense area with spectacular ocean views just steps from the beach. It has quiet neighborhood walking streets which lead straight to the sand. Cool offshore ocean breezes keep the air clean and the temperature just right. The sound of the waves can be heard up the hill. The section is an easy walk to restaurants, boutique shops and schools. The Hill Section is dotted with large homes nestled among the rolling hills. Many have panoramic ocean views of the Santa Monica Bay and some have views of downtown Los Angeles. Hill Section residents are within walking distance to the beach, schools and downtown Manhattan Beach. The Tree Section is filled with diverse large trees which line the closely knit streets. Gorgeous custom Mediterranean, Cape Cod, and California Beach Contemporary homes fill this family-friendly area. Block parties and neighborhood events are common, and the residential feel of the area is appealing to families. The East Manhattan Beach section provides some of the larger lots in Manhattan Beach. Many of these homes have private backyards with enough room for a pool and an outdoor recreational court. Large homes have replaced many of the original beach bungalows, but a small amount still remain. The award-winning middle school and high school are located in this section and are a short walking distance for many residents. * California Department of Finance's Demographic Research Unit, 2011.